Framework 6 Specialization program

12.44 Frameworks 1-5 are designed to produce strength gains and muscular growth throughout the body. In a specialization program, focus is given to a single body part or specific exercise. Progress is only targeted in the focus body part or exercise. Good progress means a substantial increase in strength relative to your recent personal bests in the exercises concerned— not necessarily relative to the cycle's starting poundages because they will likely be less than your personal bests, especially if you have not done the exercises concerned for a while.

12.45 ^e existing strength and development of the rest of your physique should be maintained with the minimum of exercise and effort. Any effort to progress in the rest of your physique must be temporarily suspended. ^en the effort and recovery ability that is "saved" from easing back on the rest of your physique can be channeled into the focus body part or exercise.

12.46 Specialization is not needed by beginners and intermediates. At those stages you need overall growth and strength. Trying to produce a big increase in size in a single body part, or poundage gain in a single exercise, without first having the main structures of the body in impressive condition by the standards of non-competitive bodybuilding and lifting, is to have made a mockery of weight training.

12.47 To get big and strong you have to consider the body as a whole, not as a collection of parts. ^e hard gainer can only tolerate and respond to a small-to-moderate amount of training. Exceed this and you will get nowhere, or perhaps even regress. Concentrate on your thighs, hips, back and upper-body pushing structure. Hard gainers cannot be concerned with keeping everything in perfect balance while building themselves up. Of course you do not want to end up with a body way out of proportion, but if you concern yourself with "perfect" balance right from early on in your training, you will have to use so many exercises and train so much that you will lose your focus upon the best exercises, and make overtraining and stagnation inevitable.

12.48 If instead of being concerned about biceps, delts, triceps, pecs and lats specialization all hard gainers were concerned with getting stronger and stron ger, and then stronger still in the squat, deadlift, bench press, overhead press and a row, with the addition of no more than a few single-joint exercises, there would be tons more muscle in the world within a few months. And all without any specialization programs, leg extensions, lateral raises, pec-deck work, cable cross-overs, etc.

12.49 Here are three of the benefits of a specialization program for those qualified to use it:

a. Enables you to bring up a lagging body part or exercise.

b. Introduces variety and heightens training enjoyment and satisfaction due to different challenges and targets.

c. Exploits an existing strength and enables you to make it outstanding. ^is breaks the concept of a balanced physique, but if you have a natural strength, whether it is a body part and /or a particular exercise, and want to see how far you can take it, you need to specialize on it and make it into an even greater strength. ^is greater strength should, however, have some beneficial carry-over effect to the rest of your physique.

12.50 While balanced development has its merits, exploiting a natural advantage to make it into something exceptional may satisfy you more. Consider the stellar example of Bob Peoples, who, in 1949, deadlifted in competition (with an overhand hook grip) a gigantic 725.75 pounds at a bodyweight of just 189 pounds. Had Peoples kept his deadlift and back development in proportion with his other exercises and body parts, he would never have become a colossus of Iron Game history.

12.51 ^e basic hard-gainer specialization formula, following the development of the necessary foundation, is less work for the rest of the body than usual, and not pushing yourself to your limit in those exercises—keep yourself a little below your absolute best there. When the specialization area is the grip, calves or neck, intensity in other areas does not have to be kept in check, but I believe that it does when you specialize on other areas.

12.52 Successful hard-gainer training is about riveting attention on abbreviated routines, the best exercises, and progressive poundages. Specialization focuses this basic approach onto a small area of the body, or a single exercise. It is not about adding lots of additional work (especially a lot of detail exercises) to an already extensive and excessive training program, as it is in the conventional approach to specialization.

12.53 Here is an example of a body part specialization program, for the upper arms:

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